The search has ended.

When you are pregnant, people ask you lots of questions. One of those questions is usually about your pediatrician. Do you have a pediatrician? Where does he/she have privileges? Did you interview him/her? How many others did you interview? The questions go on and on. 

Before Charlie was born, we had ALL the answers to ALL the questions. We had asked friends for recommendations. We had called and interviewed pediatricians. We picked one that came highly recommended. Well...what I didn't realize was that BEFORE we were parents we THOUGHT we knew it all. We THOUGHT we knew what would be important. 

Two children, two pediatric practices, four pediatricians, and four years of parenting later...I think I found a pediatrician we are all happy with. Is it close to home? No. Does she have privileges at our nearest hospital? No. Does she keep us waiting? No. Do we have to hunt for a parking space? No. Do we have to leave a message with a service in case of emergency? No. Do we have to do everything exactly as she says - or else? No. 

Finding a pediatrician is a lot like dating. Go once or twice. See if it works for you. If not, break up. Spend some time researching. Try another one. Repeat until you find the one that works. The one that will be with your family for 18 or more years. 

There is no shame is changing doctors if they aren't the right fit. There is no shame in admitting you don't have ALL the answers - or the right answers. 

Today, I took our two darlings for our well visits. Both got shots. Both were met where they were developmentally rather than where protocol said. If they were afraid, time was taken to explain what was happening. My husband showed up late and was welcomed. We talked. We weren't questioned. We were taken on time. We found parking with no problem. Despite receiving a shot, Charlie still said Alex was his favorite. (The nurse who gave him the shot.) What does that tell you? 

Finding My Stride

Well, it has been awhile...our newborn is now almost 18 months old...our son is 4!!! We 've been in our little house for almost two years. (Two years ago today, we decided to make this place our home.) I'm working full-time in youth ministry. A lot has happened in the last year. I'm not entirely ready to share all of it but, here I am. I have found my stride again. Things that I enjoyed when we were newly married and new, first time parents are becoming part of my life again. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Getting Past The Grumbling

Today's readings and Blessed Is She devotion talk about not complaining and using God's grace to get you through the rough moments. I certainly do my share of grumbling but I am also starting to realize that the things that I grumble about the most are the things that are the greatest blessings in my life...This coming  week each time I grumble, I'm going to try to remember to turn it into gratitude. I need to give thanks for the many things, people, and situations in my life that may cause me aggravation.

When I stop grumbling and work on being grateful, my entire demeanor changes. God gives us such amazing gifts. Initially when we recieve those gifts they may seem irritating or overwhelming because we had not necessarily planned on them becoming part of our lives. It's not about our timing. It's about God's timing and His will for us.

In college, one of my theology professors defined grace as God working within you. Putting the graces we recieve into action isn't always easy but in order to have a positive outlook it certainly is necessary. God's grace empowers us to strive to share our gifts with others in His name.

The $29/week SNAP Budget Challenge

So apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow failed the $29 per week challenge made by Chef Mario Batali...When Julie at Corner with a View began wondering how much per week we spend on groceries, I just had to resurrect this little blog and share...

Presently we spend approximately $50 or less on groceries per week... (I generally shop every other week so unfortunately you don't get a real time shopping list from me.) I went virtually shopping on to show you how I would spend my $50 this week assuming I had (almost) nothing in my pantry.

I'm a nursing mom living with my husband, toddler, and infant daughter. We live in suburban New York (where we have one of the highest COL in the United States). I shop at Stop 'N Shop without coupons.

As a SNAP family we would receive - $29 x 4 = 116 per week....
This week I spent - $60.10

If I used items in my pantry, I would have spent much less. Also some of this lasts for more than one week.

16 oz. bag of carrots $1.50**

16 oz bag frozen broccoli florets $1.79**
16 oz bag frozen corn $0.89**
Cucumber $0.59

Cantaloupe $2.00
5 lb. bag of potatoes $3.99**
3 - Ham Steaks $6.00*
2 - 20.8 oz packages of Ground Turkey $3.99*
1 gal. Whole Milk $4.19
1 doz. eggs $2.19
4 - 6 oz. yogurts $2.00*
64 oz. Apple Juice w/ added Calcium - $1.99
2 liter Lemon Lime Seltzer $0.89
Loaf of Whole Wheat bread $2.29
Cereal $1.99
2 boxes of pasta $1.66
Bag of rice (32 oz) $2.39**
Baked Beans (28 oz) $1.50*
Tomatoes Diced with Zesty Milk Green Chilies $1.79*
Black Beans (15 oz) $0.69
Red Beans (15 oz) $0.69
Grape Jelly $1.59**
Peanut Butter $3.29**
2 Jars of Marinara Sauce *
Taco Seasoning $1.09*
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies $1.00**

* indicates a brand named item
**items that will last for more than one week

If this were a week where cans of coffee were $1.79 with a $25 purchase I would have bought a can of coffee.

It is obvious that if I just randomly shopped for items as we needed them, it would cost more. I shop based on the sales. I stock up when things are inexpensive. For example, the tomatoes for the chili I buy when they are $0.79 a can. Right now, they cost more than double that.

I find shopping on a budget entertaining. I like to see how much I can get for the least amount of money. We eat pretty simple meals but, they are tasty, filling, and healthy. Breakfast for dinner is not unheard of because we like it and there is little preparation.

From these items our meal choices are: 
(The biggest meal of the day depends on when we are home. My husband works crazy hours and my hours are unpredictable. The smaller of the two meals is leftovers.)
Chili w/ beans and rice
Ham steaks w/ baked beans and potatoes
Meatballs w/ pasta and sauce
Vegetable fried rice
Pasta w/ vegetables and sauce
Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches


Eggs w/ toast and fruit 
Ham & Eggs
Cereal w/ milk and yogurt 
Toast w/ peanut butter 


My boy is growing up!

Over the weekend we took our first overnight family trip to Montauk. We stayed at the Beachcomber Resort. It was wonderful. Charlie loved the sand and the hotel. He seemed to enjoy the fact that we were in one room together for two days. I can't wait to go back when it is warmer.

Also last week, our little man said his first word - other than mom - BALL! His Uncle C. bought him a big blue kickball. He's learned to throw it with two hands over his head and he enjoys trying to bounce it. Charlie walks around the house saying "ball" every chance he gets.

On Monday (May 6th), Charlie took his first two independent steps to put a ball in his little basketball hoop. (His uncles are a little obsessed with sports.) I can't believe my little boy is growing up so fast!

In other news, I launched my Facebook shop ( Please stop by and "like" my page!